Woods Stricker help put US on cusp of victory

By Rex HoggardOctober 11, 2009, 7:16 am

Presidents CupSAN FRANCISCO – It’s getting late early for the Internationals at Harding Park, to pinch a bromide from baseball’s lexicon.

For the seventh time in eight playings of this lopsided grudge match the world has spotted the United States a lead heading into Sunday’s singles fray and as the Shark will learn his fish aren’t adept at swimming up that stream.

The one-time municipal clover field will offer some faux drama on Sunday, with the world trailing the home side 12 1/2-9 1/2 and a dozen chances to narrow the gap in a format they won two years ago in Montreal.

Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker
Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker have shared many hugs this week. (Getty Images)
The Internationals will make things interesting, but as Michael Jordan told Sean O’Hair early in 23’s ongoing mentoring – a well-publicized experiment which begs the question, when and why did O’Hair become a project? – the U.S. has a Barcalounger on the International side’s head.

In many ways the eighth Presidents Cup began and ended in a span of 10 minutes before lunch had even been served.

From 22 feet at the 17th hole during Saturday’s foursome session Woods walked a birdie putt into the hole to tie his match and with his ball’s final tumble the first chill of this Presidents Cup filled the frigid air. His next swing was even better.

From 229 yards Woods roped a “full cut 3-iron” onto the closing green and into the hearts of the Internationals. It was the first time the dynamic duo of Woods and Steve Stricker had seen the 18th green and they still haven’t had to hit a putt there.

What transpired the rest of the afternoon was window dressing. The teams played to a fourball draw, leaving the United States five points shy of a sixth cup victory that will be remembered for the dominance of the U.S.S. Woods-Stricker and a charming NorCal muni.

The American uber-pairing answered the call, sweeping all comers and staking the home flag to a three-point advantage (Note to U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin: pair Woods and Stricker early and often next year in Wales.).

“Our mentality and how we play and how we compete is exactly the same,” Woods said of his better-ball better half who jokingly said the world No. 1 ducked him in Montreal two years ago.

Stricker and Woods have never been paired together and have played on only one other cup team together (2007 Presidents Cup). In then-captain Jack Nicklaus’ defense mild mannered and man child may have seemed like a square peg and round hole. But now the hunch is history.

Saturday morning’s dramatics gave way to a Stricker putting clinic in the p.m. fourball session. The soft-spoken Midwesterner ran in birdie putts of 6 feet (third), 12 feet (fifth) and 9 feet (eighth) to put Y.E. Yang and Ryo Ishikawa out of reach early.

“It was a pleasure to watch Strick play,” Woods said. “I was cheerleading most of the day.”

Yang had said after he outdueled Woods at the PGA Championship there would be no rematch. He changed his mind at Harding Park [they will meet in singles Sunday] and may be rethinking his decision following that 4-and-2 thumping. As for Ishikawa, the Japanese Tiger Woods, he went from Bashful Prince to bashed up prince in a hurry.

Perhaps the Stricker-Woods machine should not have been a surprise. After Phil Mickelson, the Wisconsinite is the closest current thing Woods has to a competitive equal. But it is no less inspiring.

For 2 ½ sessions it appeared as if the Internationals would make a game of it, focused by an embattled captain and stirred by last-minute heroics on Thursday and Friday. But that window closed when Woods and Stricker proved once and for all that American Tour pros are neither insular nor only concerned with individual glory.

Mickelson, labeled a reluctant cup participant in the past, continued his fall revival – coming within a missed 7-footer in the Saturday gloom of sweeping his team frame for the first time with an ailing back and slightly off-form partners.

Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in our hearts and the World Golf Ranking have accounted for 7 ½ of America’s 12 ½ points and largely rendered Sunday’s 12 single bouts something of a formality.

It’s not over, at least not officially, but the Internationals have a tough climb to get over the wall here at Alcatraz National and everyone in the shivering gallery knew it. After all, they live in a state that’s made an art out of digging financial holes and know an insurmountable deficit when they see one.


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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm